Featured Review: Blood House

Oct 20, 2012 by

BLOOD HOUSE by David Gatward
Franklin Watts (11 Oct 2012)
ISBN: 978-1445114682
Price: £5.99

While David Gatward may not be the best-known horror author in the world, he’s rapidly proving himself to be one of the best. His The Dead series was a full-on gorestravaganza, yet never sacrificed story or characters for cheap scares.

His standalone novel, Doom Rider, was reviewed in issue two of Start the Story, where we awarded it a resounding thumbs up. Now Gatward returns with Blood House, a fast-paced horror for reluctant or struggling readers, but which can be just as easily enjoyed by older or more accomplished readers too.

Blood House poses a brilliantly simple question – what if your house tried to kill you? That’s exactly what happened to the story’s protagonist, Trevor. Fortunately he escaped, but the rest of his family weren’t so lucky.

The police – perhaps understandably – had difficulty believing that Trevor’s house carried out the gruesome killings, and the story starts with Trev locked in a psychiatric hospital being evaluated. No-one there believes him either, but when blood begins to ooze from the walls and the hospital comes alive around him, Trev is forced to fight for his life once again, before confronting a terrible truth that changes his view of the world forever.

The book is part of the EDGE Rivets series – fast, gripping reads aimed at those struggling with reading. Make no mistake about it, Blood House is a proper horror with death, gore and graphic violence, so it may not be suitable for younger readers (although, in my experience, they love that stuff). The text is a good size and well spaced, and there aren’t many words per page, so it won’t look daunting to those of lower reading levels.

This is a well-crafted story, and the “killer house” idea is a strong hook. Despite the low word count, Gatward manages to breathe life into the main character, and he has a knack of painting some of the most vivid imagery in teen and children’s horror.

Want to use Blood House in your classroom? Check out our lesson plan.


We’ve got a copy of the book to give away to one lucky winner. To enter, send an email to comp@startthestory.co.uk and answer the following question:

David Gatward’s Doom Rider novel is about:

A. The Horsemen of the Apocalypse

B. The Cowmen of the Apocalypse

C. Dominoes

One winner will be randomly selected on November 21st. Entries submitted after November 20th will not be accepted.

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